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Effective Delegation: How Do I “Hand-Off” With Clarity?

delegation Sep 29, 2021

When I delegated away my first assignment to someone on my team, I saw it simply as an assignment. Then, I learned that it was so much more than a simple assignment. Effective delegation is a partnership that results in mutual growth. 

Last blog I shared that in delegation you can create a win-win-win — developing you, developing your people, and developing your organization. That kind of partnership needs clarity. So, let’s be C-L-E-A-R. 

C – Commission –

Give them a clear commission by communicating what specifically is the work to be done and what is the timeline for that work. Let them know if it is a one-off or a long term commitment.

L – Limits 

Clarify the scope of their authority, how you expect decisions to be made and when you want to be informed. Let them know what resources or budget is available to them for their assignment.

E – Engagement –

Remember that it’s a partnership. You still have a role to play in providing training and engaging them in the process. Provide a good training plan, such as “I do, we do, you do” (watch me do this, then let’s do it together, now you try). Communicate who they have access to for help in completing the assignment and how you will coach them if needed

A – Appreciation – 

Be clear on why they are the one to do this “job” with specific reference to the skills and qualities that led you to choose them. Remind them along the way to build their confidence and encourage them to contribute at their best.

R – Results –

Define what success looks like and what progress you expect along the way. Agree on how you will measure success and be sure to check in on what you are measuring along the way to make adjustments for the unexpected.



Let’s talk about delegation. If you do the hand-off well, then you don’t have to be hands-on. If you are C-L-E-A-R, your team members will know what to do and have what they need to be successful. It doesn’t, however, mean you are “off the hook”. Your role changes and instead of actually doing the task you become the trainer, provide needed support and coaching, and encourage their success.

Next Steps

As you think through how to be C-L-E-A-R, it’s also important to think about how you will know if delegation has been successful and effective. Reflect on this self-assessment at the first milestone and then again when the “project” has finished its cycle. 

  1. How was this project/process more successful because of this delegation partnership?
  2. How much time did you as a leader spend now in this area as compared to before delegating?
  3. How did mutual trust grow for each other in this delegation partnership?
  4. How does your team member rate their engagement or satisfaction in the project?
  5. What challenges did they overcome and how did they do it?
  6. What would you do more of, less of or the same next time?

Every delegation partnership is an opportunity to learn and practice new skills of leadership for you and new skills applied to a new responsibility for your team member. It won’t go perfectly and there is always room to grow and learn. It’s an opportunity to intentionally practice delegation and therefore get better and better each time you practice. This is how we make our best even better! If you are working on your C-L-E-A-R plan for delegating, I would love to talk to you about it. Set up a FREE 30 minute strategy session and let me know what you are learning!

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